PWC Health Issues

Pembroke Welsh Corgi Health Issues

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi has an average life expectancy of 12-13 years. The breed is prone to several health issues, so whether you adopt a Pembroke as a puppy or later in life, routine veterinarian visits and examinations are crucial to address any health issues as soon as possible.  

Elbow and Hip Dysplasia

Elbow and hip dysplasia are defined as abnormal growth or development of a tissue or organ. In this case, Pembrokes can be born with or develop abnormal joints, primarily hips and elbows. This affects both the bones and the surrounding soft tissue, such as muscle and cartilage.

These conditions cause pain, lameness, and eventually arthritis. They can be diagnosed by your veterinarian with an x-ray.

Treatment includes anti-inflammatory medication, joint protectant supplements, and even surgery, depending on the severity of the dysplasia.


A cataract is an imperfection, an opacity, or a cloudiness of the lens of the eye. Cataracts can be too small to interfere with vision, but they can also develop over the entire lens of the eye and cause blindness.

If you notice any whiteness on the surface of your dog’s eye or pupil, or your dog shows signs of vision loss, have your Pembroke evaluated by your vet or a veterinary ophthalmologist as soon as possible.

Patent Ductus Arteriosis

Patent ductus arteriosis (PDA) is a congenital heart condition in dogs, meaning it develops in the womb and is present at birth.

The ductus arteriosis is an area of the heart that should only be present in the womb, as it acts to shunt—or divert—blood away from the lungs, which are not used until after birth. A PDA occurs when this shunt does not close the way it’s supposed to when the puppy is born. This results in the puppy not getting enough oxygen in the blood. The left side of the heart enlarges, and this can lead to congestive heart failure.

Many dogs won’t show any clinical signs of PDA other than a heart murmur picked up by their vet. However, others may have symptoms that include:

  • Coughing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Blue foot pads
  • Episodes of collapse
  • Weakness/lethargy
  • Exercise intolerance
  • After your vet hears a heart murmur, chest x-rays (heart and lungs) and an echocardiogram must be performed for diagnosis of this condition. A PDA in dogs requires surgical correction by a veterinary cardiologist.
  • Degenerative Myelopathy

    Degenerative myelopathy (DM) is a slow, progressive deterioration of the spinal cord. This condition is caused by a gene mutation, and dogs are usually 8 years or older when symptoms begin. DM often starts with a nonpainful unsteady gait and weakness in the back legs, and progresses into paralysis.

    A DNA test is available to diagnose this neurological condition. Unfortunately, there is no treatment and there are no supplements that can help with this disease. Most dogs are euthanized 1-3 years after diagnosis because of a poor quality of life.

    Von Willebrand’s Disease

    Von Willebrandメs disease (vWD) is an inherited bleeding disorder. It is caused by a faulty or deficient amount of von Willebrand factor (vWF), which helps the blood to clot. vWD is the most common inherited bleeding disorder in dogs.

    The most common clinical sign is bleeding in the mucosal regions of the dog’s body (gums in the mouth and inside the penile sheath or vaginal area), as evidenced by bruising seen in the area or on the skin. The bruises can be tiny, like the size of a pinpoint, but can also be much larger and look like an injury.

    Von Willebrand's disease is suspected after blood work—such as a complete blood count (CBC) and coagulation panel and a special screening test called buccal mucosal bleeding time—has been performed. The diagnosis is confirmed with a DNA screening test or identification of low levels of vWF in the plasma. Treatment might include a blood transfusion and special IV.